Title: Lil' Pun-kinbelly or The Awful Nickname That Continues To Haunt Dawn To This Day

Author: mistymidnight

Rating: G

Disclaimer: I'm crazy! So are the people who own this stuff! (Unfortunately, I'm not them.)

Spoilers/Timeline: None at all, set before the show started.

Summary: The story of how Dawn ended up with that horribly embarrassing nickname.

Author's Notes: Requested by gidgetgirl, here it is: the story of Dawn's nickname.

            Seven-year-old Buffy stared at her one-and-a-half-year-old sister Dawn.

            "Does she ever do anything interesting?" she asked her mother.

            Dawn blew a spit bubble and giggled.

            "She isn't here to entertain you, Buffy," her mother told her. "Now go get your costume."

            Buffy ran upstairs to get her costume. It was Halloween, her all-time favorite holiday, and she was going as Power Girl.

            She changed into her costume as fast as she could and ran back downstairs. Dawn was sitting on a blanket on the kitchen floor, banging one of Buffy's Barbie dolls on the floor and saying, "Ma-ma, da-da, no-no," over and over again, because they were the only words she knew. Buffy fixed her little sister with a disapproving look. Everyone talked about the cute things Dawn did, but Buffy had yet to see her actually do one of them.

            "Is Daddy home yet?" she asked.

            "He's coming," her mother assured her. Buffy grabbed the naked Barbie from Dawn, who had apparently taken it from Buffy's room. Dawn let out a scream. Buffy averted the crisis by shoving the Barbie back toward her sister. Dawn smiled and resumed teaching Barbie how to use her head as a hammer.

            "Daddy's bringing a pumpkin, right?" Buffy asked her mother, who was busy shoving a frozen pizza in the oven. "So we can make jack-o-lanterns."

            "Jakka-la-la." Dawn cried, speeding up the staccato beat of the Barbie head hitting the floor.

            "Right," their mother confirmed. Buffy heard the garage door open. "Daddy's home!" she screeched.

            "Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da!" Dawn exclaimed.

                                                            *          *          *

            "Okay, ready?" Hank Summers asked his oldest daughter.

            "Ready." Buffy leaned over for a close look at the pumpkin. Her father plunged the knife into the top of the pumpkin and cut a hole around the stem. He pulled it out, strings of pumpkin hanging from it.

            "Eww, pumpkin guts!" Buffy shrieked delightedly.

            "Go ahead, sweetheart," Hank smiled.

            Buffy took the serving spoon her mother had given her and scooped out some pumpkin insides, giggling and wrinkling her nose at the smell. Joyce bounced Dawn on her lap as they watched from the other end of the kitchen table.

            "Are you going to be Mommy's helper and pull out the pumpkin seeds so she can plant them next year?" Joyce asked.

            Buffy nodded, still intent on scooping out the pumpkin. When she had finished most of it, she handed the spoon to her father and set to work separating the seeds from the pumpkin guts. She made two separate piles and added to each. Seeds, guts. Seeds, guts. Seeds—

            The doorbell rang.

            "The trick-or-treaters must be here," Joyce said, putting Dawn in her high chair where she could still observe the gutting of the pumpkin and pulling it up to the table. Buffy followed her mother to the door, just as the telephone rang. Hank ran to answer it, dropping the knife and spoon in the sink as he passed it.

            Dawn was alone with the pumpkin.

            "Puh-pa?"

                                                            *          *          *

            When Buffy, Hank, and Joyce returned to the kitchen, they couldn't believe their eyes.

            "What the…?"

            Dawn sat, still in her high chair, but had somehow managed to grab two handfuls of pumpkin guts. They were smeared all over her face, especially around her mouth. She looked at them innocently. "Puh-pa."

            "Did she eat it?" Buffy asked, disgusted.

            As if in answer, Dawn licked some pumpkin guts off her finger.

            "Eww!" Buffy shuddered. "Gross!"

            Joyce walked over to Dawn and lifted her out of the high chair. "Did you eat pumpkins, sweetie?"

            "Puh-pa," Dawn answered matter-of-factly.

            "Oh, sweetheart you've got pumpkins in your tummy."

            "She has a pumpkin belly!" Buffy shouted, getting over her disgust and replacing it with utter amusement.

            "Indoor voice, Buffy," Hank reminded her.

            Buffy smiled to herself. Maybe Dawn does some funny things after all.

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Okay, like I say with most of my stories, it probably wasn't great, but I had that idea nad I just really wanted to write it down. (Or type it up, if you wanna get specific. Why do we write things DOWN but type things UP?) Please, please, please review, I've only had two reviews in the last, like, four days! Review, review, review!

*mistymidnight*